race morning

ok so here we are over a week after the event and time i put fingertip to keyboard for some form of race write up… starting as these triathlon things do (mostly) with the swim.

it’s 20 past 4 am on sunday morning, its dark save for the occasional generator powered floodlighting and we join the steady trickle of bodies heading toward the transition area.

this is Ironman UK for my second time and my second Ironman attempt.

i spy a quiet looking row of portaloos and make a bee line, grateful at this point i popped my headtorch in my pocket.

into transition and marked up with my number, to the bike to check tyres, add bottles and double check food.
surprisingly quickly i seem to be ready but its 3/4 of an hour before i want to think about putting my wetsuit on.

i managed some rice pud before leaving the hotel, and then promptly left my coffee inside when i left.
i’d managed a banana while checking my bike and made the effort to drink and have a cereal bar.

i put my mp3 player on and find some suitable tracks to gee me up a bit and wander to peer at the racks of red & blue bags deposited yesterday (blue for bike kit, red for run kit).

at half 5 i make a final loo trip and put my wetsuit on and over the next 30minutes more and more wetsuited people appear to stand ready. it’s approaching 6am, when the race is supposed to start, we’re not even in the water yet, let alone 300m away at the start line.

its still dark, the thought of getting in the water now isn’t at all appealing. delayed by parking woes (again) or a forgetful pro having no wetsuit (alledgedly) things finally start moving.

my nerves have had plenty of time to build up, i havent spotted anyone i know, i should feel raring to go but for some reason i’m about ready to cry.
approaching the funnel to enter the lake, its surprisingly packed with supporters and i know lisa will be here somewhere by now. i can hear some of the plastic football rattles we picked up spectating Ironman Switzerland, as I approach i’m willing it to be lisa, it’s not, i try to focus and move on.

just at the right moment, out of 1300 people i find myself next to martin (wiganer) and andy (rhb), a friendly face, some physical contact and shared trepidation was just what i needed. we part ways and enter the water, no way we’d be able to stay in touch all the way to the start.

the water is cold, as expected, as it trickles in a familiarly uncomfortable way down my back. i swim out to the start, nice and easy.

as last year i position myself cautiously toward the back of the back. there’s some amusement as the sneaky pros at the front are moved back, the chap next to me has found a rock to stand on but then he admits to being 6’4. i double check my wetsuit, swim cap and goggles. all systems go. i can see spectators behind the reeds all round the shore and there’s a spine tingling moment of chanting from the competitors, 1300 people calling out over the surface of the water.

[coming soon.. the swim…]